Oracle DBA Interview tips: It’s not Rocket Science!

I have spent the past several weeks interviewing potential Senior Oracle DBAs. Two made the cut. Why did they make the cut? Most people did not make the cut. Why did they not make the cut? Who got hired? Why did we hire her?

There are some simple things you can do to put yourself out in front of the crowd.

    1. Resume:
      1. If your resume is thin. (your finishing up at the University and you’ve been waiting tables) Hey, I get it, I was there to back when I chiseled my first resume onto stone with iron and a stone hammer. Indicate you have been at the university, what you studied, and hey, maybe put on there what you are most interested in. Defensively put some of your class projects on there, describing them (not more than one paragraph.) Also break down your skills and how you feel you fall on the beginner – expert scale for each skill. See my CV / Resume for an idea on skills. 
      2. If you have 10 years experience at 10 different places that tells me you will most likely quit or be fired in a year. Job hopping is not impressive. Now that said, if you are working in a consulting capacity (contract to contract) that is pretty normal. Please indicate that on your resume.
      3. Putting a PhD in public policy from a diploma mill will not impress me. We may invite you to the phone interview just to figure out who you are. But then you better perform like a PhD.
      4. If you put <name your technology> Expert on your resume, you better be able to back that up in the interview. I will ask hard questions on the things you say you are an expert on.
    2. Technical questions.
      1. BS your way through the answer. It’s okay to not know the answer. These questions are designed to learn how you think. What I’m looking to hear if you do not know the answer is to say “I don’t know the answer, this is how I would go about finding out the answer.” It’s okay to think out loud, that gives us an idea on how you solve problems. And  NO saying I would open an SR for every problem you have is not the right way to solve a problem.
      2. Once you have answered the question, indicate you are ready for the next question. Don’t ramble on, please, I just start hearing “bla bla bla.”
    1. Energy
      1. OMG, we did an interview today where we were wondering if the person suffered from depression. Okay, you have been out of work, you feel bad about yourself, get over it. We need someone who will come in and be ready to work. So please get yourself pumped up, be happy to talk to us, be professional. Even if it’s the ninth phone interview you did this week and everyone said no. You need to convince me and my coworkers you are ready to come in and get the job done.
      2. Watch Amy Cuddy  explaining how body language shapes who you are.
    1. Attitude:
      1. There is a difference between, confidence and condescending. One gentleman was quite condescending about our current environment. Then rolled his eyes when we talked about how we are starting a consolidation effort. (this is what we were interviewing him for)

Who did we invite back for a face to face?

  1. She showed energy: the young lady spent five minutes explaining to us her history and was proud of her work. (we were wondering if she had one too many espressos) She then followed up the interview with a thank you email addressed to each one of us and summarized why she is a good fit for our team.  She showed us that she believes in herself.  She missed a couple of questions but indicated she did not know the answer off the top of her head and talked through the logic. Hey you get a lot of points with me if you show me you can think.
  2. He said, “I have not worked with TDE so I can’t answer those questions; so I would to the Oracle Documentation and look it up.”  He showed us that he knows what he does not know.

That’s pretty much it. Once you start talking, you have about seven seconds to get my attention. Show your are competent, show that you know what you don’t know and for peats sake, show some energy. Show us that you believe in yourself. We want to hire you. We want you to succeed. 

Update: We hired the young lady who showed up with a fire in her belly. Her energy was contagious, and a good fit for our team.

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